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First Poppy presented to Essex Mayor


by Sylene Argent

For the first time in recent memory, the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) presented the first poppy to the Mayor of Essex in a short, symbolic ceremony to announce the kick off of the official local fundraising campaign that supports Veteran needs.

  Last Friday, Essex Legion President, Erroll Caza, officially presented the first local poppy – a symbol the popular poem “In Flanders Fields” inspired – to Essex Mayor Larry Snively, just outside of the Essex Municipal Building.  

  The first Essex poppy presentation followed around a week behind the presentation of the first national poppy being presented from the Legion’s Dominion President, Tom Irvine, to Canada’s Governor General, Julie Payette.

  Caza noted the local poppy campaign will kick off on October 30, and the Essex Legion could always use a few volunteers to help provide poppies in exchange for a donation.

  According to legion.ca, the funds raised through the poppy campaign can go towards supporting Veterans, and their families, in need, in a variety of ways, including grants for food, heating costs, clothing, prescription medication, medical appliances and equipment, essential home repairs, and emergency shelter or assistance. Funds can also support housing accommodation and care facilities for Veterans, provide funding for Veteran Transition Programs, and comforts for Veterans and their surviving spouses who are hospitalized. Funds could also go to support educational bursaries for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Veterans, or cadet units.

  “We have got to be thankful for our freedom and never forget what Veterans – and young men and women – sacrificed for our freedom,” Snively said. “The lives that were lost, we shall never forget.”

  The Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion will host an outdoor Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11, as per usual, but will not host a parade or church service in conjunction.

  The Remembrance Day ceremony, Caza said, is not a Legion event, but it is a civic event. He thanked Snively and the Town for allowing the Legion to host it on the Town’s behalf.

  The Essex Legion is also hosting a silent vigil leading up to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and a few volunteers for this endeavour are still needed. Participants do not need to be Legion members to get involved. The silent vigil will begin at 7am on November 10 and will conclude at the start of the Remembrance Day ceremony.

  Anyone interested in participating in the silent vigil for a one-hour shift or would like to volunteer for the poppy campaign, can call the Essex Legion at (519) 776-8247 or email Caza at elcaza51@gmail.com to sign up or to learn more.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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